Shop Golf Instrunction Video Series

Play Golf America...Your Link to the Game

Subscribe to RSS feed for NewsNews

Story Image
Winnng the silver medal and posing with champion Padraig Harrington capped what Chris wood called the best week of his young life. (Cannon/Getty Images)

Wood follows Rose to amateur glory at Royal Birkdale

Print News

A decade after Justin Rose's Open Championship coming-out party at Royal Birkdale, 20-year-old amateur Chris Wood splashed onto the scene in similarly dramatic fashion.

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) -- Chris Wood became the latest amateur to find success at Royal Birkdale, a decade after Justin Rose's spectacular chip on the 72nd hole gave him a share of fourth at the Open Championship.

Wood survived getting stuck in a bunker to finish in a tie for fifth Sunday, showing signs he has the potential to follow his fellow Englishman into the pro ranks.

Just not yet. Unlike Rose, who was 17 when he had his eye-catching finish in 1998, turned pro a day later and then went 21 tournaments without making a cut, Wood isn't rushing into things.

"Not at the moment, no," the 20-year-old said after his 2-over 72 left him at 10 over for the tournament, seven behind winner Padraig Harrington. "I'm having a week off."

The gangly 6-foot-5 Wood played soccer when he was growing up but gave up thoughts of becoming a star after a serious knee injury.

"I couldn't play for ages, lost interest in football and obviously had a lot more time to practice my golf," he said. "Every year I've improved so far."

More Open Championship:
Full Leaderboard
Open Championship Video
Final Recap
Course Statistics
News Archive

Wood was awarded the silver medal as the leading amateur finisher, and clearly wasn't comfortable with all the extra attention.

"I don't know what to say, to be honest," he said. "I haven't had time to think about anything at the moment."

Wood started the week with just his family and friends watching him play, and his father, Richard, carrying his bag. Like Rose, he chipped in on his last hole an even-par 70, although his shot was in round two.

"It's been the best week of my life," he said. "The support I've had from my family, my friends, my coach, my trainer drove up this morning. Everyone at my golf club has just been overwhelming this week, and I expect I won a few more over in the crowd."

Wood finished the tournament in front of a huge gallery, boosted by playing partner and fellow Englishman Ian Poulter. The colorful star finished second with a 7-over 287 total.

"He's such a great player, played Ryder Cup, and he's such a nice guy going round," Wood said of Poulter. "It was probably the best moment of the week for me to see him holing that putt on the last. I was just so pleased for him."

Wood's only sticky moment came when his tee shot landed in a greenside bunker at the par-3 12th.

He wound up with his feet wide apart, one of them in the sand and the other in the grass, and tried to splash out. But the ball stayed in and he had to play his third shot from the trap.

Wood made a brilliant recovery, his second bunker shot rolling toward the pin and finishing two feet short for a bogey.

He sounded far from being an Open novice when he described his reaction.

"(I thought) it's probably not my day," Wood said. "I didn't really hit two bad shots and got completely penalized for not being that far off. But that's links golf. I felt like I dealt with it quite well, and it was just unfortunate having three bogeys in the middle of the back nine.

"That's not what you need to win tournaments like this."

©2008 PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital is part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network